LEGAZPI CITY (5-Mar-12) – Bicol militants under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Bikol (BAYAN-Bikol) and Karapatan-Bikol hit the United States and Philippine government for trying to pass off Operation Pacific Angel 12-1 as a “joint humanitarian and disaster relief operations” to be conducted by the United States Armed Forces (USAF) at Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) starting today to March 10, 2012.
Supposedly medical and dental missions as well as engineering civic action programs are to be conducted to train NGOs and LGUs in “humanitarian and disaster relief operations skills. These will be conducted in selected areas in Albay being known as “civil-military disaster risk management partnership at climate change adaptation initiatives”, according to Fred Manson, Bayan-Albay.
“At first glance, it may seem to be a simple social service program like medical and dental missions, repair of classrooms and water systems as among the highlights of the activity. But based on our experience with the RP-US Balikatan exercises in 2009 and other joint military exercises conducted in other parts of the country, these are always paired with surveillance operations and spying with the use of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Manson said.
Whatever publicity gimmick is done by the USAF and the AFP, it cannot be denied that their humanitarian posturing in Operation Pacific Angel is programmed to divert the attention of the people from its real purpose and that is to make the presence of US troops in the country more acceptable, Manson added.
This is in the light of developments that Philippine defense and military officials confirmed a Washington Post report last January that the two countries were negotiating a deal that would increase cooperation between the two militaries, but stressed that the tension in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) over the disputed Spratly Islands was only part of the equation. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the terms of such an agreement would still be dictated by the Visiting Forces Agreement, which allows the periodic visits of US troops for joint training and exercises.
Meanwhile, John Conception, Spokesperson, Karapatan-Bikol said “We must expose and oppose this new scheme of the US and the Aquino administration to further trample on our sovereignty. We are not against humanitarian and civic missions but these should be coursed through legitimate NGOs and LGUs. There should be also no strings attached. We must be wary of these gimmicks of the US, a few medicines and repaired classrooms are definitely not worth our sovereignty,”
Operation Pacific Angel 12-1 is conducted by the US Pacific Command (US PACOM) in its areas of responsibilities in Asia spanning 36 countries. It supposedly launches humanitarian services but at the same time launch civil-military operations and intelligence operations to memorize the terrain, space, sea, air and cyberspace of the target area. The 13th US Air Force based in Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii is a direct participant to the operation. Its mission is to plan, command and control, deliver and assess air, space and information operations in the Asia-Pacific. It is tasked with surveillance when there is no war and even in major combat operations. It is directly under the US Pacific Command, Conception ended. BicolToday.com
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